You know what I love about adulthood? It’s certainly not paying the bills. I love that I have found myself. I no longer feel awkward (OK, not totally true) or feel like I’m always trying to make people like me. It feels good to no longer feel the need to pretend to be someone you aren’t. It took me 30 plus (plus plus plus) years to realize this and 3 kids to teach me that lesson. Becoming a more authentic parent frees you.
There is so much we can learn from each other as parents. In fact, I had a neighbor tell me just last week that the more she told a story about a parenting fail, the better she felt. It is a life changing realization. You don’t have to omit truths. You no longer have to live behind this veil of perfectionism. Sharing your failings, misgivings, exasperations – they all have a place in your daily interactions with your parenting peers. I have always maintained that everyone needs a safe place to share their parenting fails, get it out, and move on from the event. None of us are perfect. And frankly, keeping up the facade that we are is absolutely exhausting. Being authentic takes little to no effort and it can only bond you to other parents. And if it doesn’t, screw them. They aren’t the kind of parents you want to hang out with anyways.
I will almost always be the first to tell you how I failed at something. My default is to be (or rather attempt to be) both humorous and real. So if you are having a bad day and I run into you at the store with your 3 crying kids who are all screaming about animal crackers, I’m going to tell about how I yelled at my kids for playing in dog poop so loud that I’m pretty sure the whole neighborhood heard it. Or how I had to semi-kick one of the twins into their preschool room because it was such a nightmare at drop-off. I’m going to tell you something terrible about my parenting skills so that you will share what may be going on with you. Don’t worry, I’ll wait until your shopping trip is over so you can just get the heck out of there and then I’ll call you later or send you an email or a text and say “I’ve been there. I get it. I bet you I can top it.”
But it’s not out of altruism that I’ll call to see if you are ok and to share something worse. I actually feel good when I share this information. It feels good to let others know that you aren’t perfect and to find out that they still like you! Plus, something funny happens when you share your fail with someone. They open up and share with you as well. I have some pretty amazing parenting fail stories that don’t even belong to me. And people feel comfortable sharing them with me because they know I’m not going to judge and the story won’t go forward with a name attached to it. Because they know that I, too, have done something really stupid in my attempts to raise little humans.
So, share away ladies! No judgements here. Sign in anonymously and let me know about something that you aren’t so proud of. Or heck, sign in with your real name and show the whole world that it is OK to not be perfect! I’ll start:
I really did shove one of the twins in the door of their preschool room with my foot. In front of the teacher. Then yell as I’m closing the door “Good luck with that one today!” And high tailed it out of there. And I may or may not have driven a good 10 minutes once before I realized a baby was not completely strapped in.